Photograph: The Forestry Commission
We are still recovering and it is likely we shall be considerably more careful with nature in future. Oh of course we heard the 'Green' message and there were all kinds of messages about how to 'save the planet', when what we meant was saving ourselves. But we had reckoned without one key ingredient. There were warnings in the weather. Extremes of hot and cold, floods that covered vast areas of countryside and even the Great Flood that made the river Thames flood its banks and made London look like a dirtier version of Venice.
Still there were the usual responses; panic in the press, terror among the public and the sonorous tones of a government without a clue. But we did not learn. When the news came later of a tsunami that had struck New York and flooded that big city some people began to take notice of the scientists and some of the religious leaders who remarked as had been remarked before that 'God' was angry. Nobody saw that somewhere in the cracks of our existence, where science and religion and even politics did not exist. Outside of the edges of our human awareness there was something we had overlooked in our self-styled superiority. So when that anger finally became manifest we were taken by surprise. Nothing we had could help us. Our fabulous technology was helpless.
It began on what has become in our memory Green Tuesday. That morning, when our dear England was enjoying a period of stability, George Lakenham woke up to the sound of trumpets and horses. He prepared himself for the day as usual and went downstairs to make breakfast, sure that he was dreaming. He had just poured his coffee when he heard a rude pounding at his front door.
George, who was a portly, creaking gentleman of a certain age, sighed. He ran his hand over his thinning hair and stirring his coffee, left the kitchen and headed to the door, his coffee mug in his hand. He was a stable gent was George. An accountant by profession, he was thorough, unruffled and calm. Nothing however had prepared him for this. When he opened his front door he found a tall green haired man with pale, green-tinted skin. The man was wearing green armour that was both beautiful and frankly archaic. It was covered in symbols that George did not recognise.
"Er, can I help you?" George asked.
He noticed the troops of horses in his garden with similar men astride them. One of the horses was taking an interest in his garden, eating its way idly through his primulas.
"Are you the king of the mortals?" the man demanded testily.
"King? No, we don't have a king. There's the Queen of England, but she's in London. I don't think she rules the country though, that's the Prime Minister's job," George answered before finally asking,
"And who might you be?"
The green-haired man drew himself to his full height, which was a lot higher than George.
"I am the Green Man and your mortal race has a reckoning to make," the man answered.
"Of course, silly of me. Er, what reckoning?" George asked tentatively.
"You mortals have been using and abusing Nature as if you had a right to. It's time the abuses were paid," the Green Man told him.
"I don't know that I quite understand," George said with an increasing sense of worry.
But the Green Man had turned away and mounted a large green horse. He turned his troop away and they marched off towards London. Even as George watched them he saw with astonishment the trees that grew up through the road and pavements in their wake. Willoughby Road suddenly became a forest.
So much for Surrey. In Sussex, a land known for legends, the long dragon beneath the South Downs hills awoke and stood sending chalk and flint cascading from him. Small villages were uprooted and people fled into the fields.
In Leicestershire, Black Annis was seen by two children who escaped her by running home. Beneath Bradgate Park the rocks were seen to rise until they were not rocky spikes, but the back ridge of a large black dragon.
All over Britain, there were dragons and dark things rising. Faeries rode in their Rades, tall, beautiful and terrifying. All of them kept the people indoors frightened and silent. The government was commanded by the Faerie Queen to return all money to the land. The metals to make coin came from earth, all paper notes came from fabric and must be returned to the earth.
In vain the government protested that money was needed for the economy. The Faerie Queen herself took over the governance of Britain. She abolished our system of capitalism completely and brought in new practices and procedures. Food and clothes were given to all the people, sustainability was made law. Forests were returned to much of the country and only certain areas were given over to farm for the various communities. Buildings were confined to specific areas also. Many people fled the country to Europe and America, only to find that similar practices were taking place also.
The Americans had taken to war to defend their way of life, but were swiftly overwhelmed. A dragon cannot be harmed by bullets or arrows, the native spirits were immortal and invulnerable. Religions were equally confined by the Faerie and the Elementals to towns and cities - where human lived. No invasion of nature was allowed.
So, they have taken over and are transforming our ways of living. Every day we are growing out of our old selves and being transformed. Not by science or religion or even politics, but by those we had forgotten - by She whom we had forgotten and ignored. Nature and her allies of the elements. We mortals live and die, but we are constantly being reminded that we are not in charge of this planet of ours but merely a part of it.